An Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen

Dear Jonathan Franzen,

Sure, I would like to read your New York Times piece all about the hollow emptiness of today’s consumer culture. I mean, if I don’t read it, how will I ever know if it contains any awkward mentions of David Foster Wallace? How will I see whether you try to carry this fairytale about commerce stealing weddings away from love all the way through your piece? I wanted to sip on my Diet Coke and laugh at your big man brain pretending like marriage has a long history of being about love that this darned old modern age stole from us.

But alas, I cannot, because the New York Times is attempting to commodify your writing about your feelings about love. I hope you write a long article about that in which you overlook that the New York Times has always been about the commodification of writing about people’s feelings on a lot of things.

That will be deeply funny to me.

Love,

b.

8 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen

  1. B, I think someone may have misled you about what that piece is about. It’s actually about the difference between liking and loving, and the difference between wanting to be universally liked and being worthy of being specifically loved. Since it was a commencement address, he did get a little preachy about it all, and threw in a couple of jokes about the geezer mocking the new technology, but it’s not about technology stealing love away or even about technology substituting for real relationships.

    Now the paywall at the NYT is another question.

  2. I just read the whole thing and I am sad and confused that it contains not one puzzling reference to David Foster Wallace. Is Franzen losing his touch?

    I did laugh that his example of something he loves is something that doesn’t love him back.

  3. Franzen lost me forever with Freedom. That book angered me. Not as badly as Eat, Pray, Love, which is a pox on humanity and American women in particular, but close.

  4. If you are not ecstatically crazy over your partner do not marry them. Long years of hills and valleys requires something more than a passing fancy. You also need a sense of humor. A wedding for many costs a mint and with all the divorces you ask yourself why? I think the person and not the wedding is what matters. Somehow many have lost sight of that.

  5. I just read the whole thing and I am sad and confused that it contains not one puzzling reference to David Foster Wallace. Is Franzen losing his touch?

    I’m sure that somewhere in there is a sort of code he and DFW had between them and, like Houdini, he is trying to contact his beloved from beyond the grave.

  6. Ooh, Jonathan Franzen. He ooks me out. THE CORRECTIONS bugged me so bad I had to quit reading it because I hated all of the characters so much I couldn’t even keep reading hoping one would get hit by a bus. I’m not up enough on the broader lit world to understand this JF/DFW thing happening, but I’ve seen him saying stuff I wouldn’t about any of my dead friends, that I know. Ugh.

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